Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sanibel Recognized as Bicycle Friendly Community

One of the many attributes and attractions of Sanibel Island is the very easy biking it offers. The entire island is ringed by a gently use bike path, which occasionally is shared by walkers, those on segways and baby carriages.

But by and large, the cyclist is king and even going off the path, there are many areas that may not have an official bike-way but are so little used by autos that safety is not an issue.
And there are several places on Island to rent bikes of all kinds.

Billy's Bike Rentals is particularly diverse with wheel alternatives ranging from tandems to bikes for the physically challenged. Virtually any kind of bike you have seen or imagined can be found at Billy's.

So with 23 miles of bike paths and many options in bike rentals, it's no surprise that the Island has been designated as a very special place by the premiere bicycle advocacy group in the USA. The League of American Bicyclists has announced Sanibel's designation as a 'Bicycle Friendly Community'. The Island is one of 18 new Bicycle Friendly Communities. More than 400 communities have applied for BFC designation and, to date, 158 communities (six in Florida, including Sanibel), have received the recognition.

But the designation does not get awarded simply because of the existence of bike paths or even of bike rental companies. The League has a rigorous application and review process which includes research into whether the community supports biking in a number of ways. There are nearly 100 questions that must be answered in order to be considered for designation ranging from whether there are bike rodeos for kids to how the community supports national bike month, which by the way, is this month of May.

According to the league, "A Bicycle Friendly Community welcomes cyclists by providing safe accommodation for cycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation."
The designation publicity is a nice nod to the city manager and council of Sanibel as well as to the Sanibel Bicycle Club who have worked with the city to make Sanibel a bike friendly community.

And in this day and age with high gas prices and concern about obesity in children and adults, it's a perfect way to start re-evaluating how we use our money, our streets and our bodies.